D. Elmo Hardy, ESA Fellow (1951)

Dr. D. Elmo Hardy (deceased 17 October 2002), a professor at the University of Hawaii (UH), was elected as Fellow in 1951. He received international recognition for his contributions to dipteran systematics and as a world authority on several dipteran families. In his lifetime, he described 1,867 species in 34 different families and established one of the most successful biology projects ever funded in Hawaii that continues to this day.

Dr. Hardy was born on 3 September 1914, in Lehi, UT. As a child, he learned to play the trombone, which helped him later to pay for college. He was an avid naturalist at a young age, taking up insect collecting and taxidermy as a teenager. He graduated from high school in 1931 and played the trombone professionally before attending Brigham Young University (BYU) in 1933.
At BYU, Dr. Hardy majored in entomology and wrote two papers on new species of Bibionidae. He graduated with a B.A. in 1937 and enrolled in Utah State University where he received his M.A. in 1938. He then attended Kansas University (KU) and received his Ph.D. in 1941, having written 19 papers and two monographs on Pipunculidae. He worked briefly as a field supervisor for the USDA on chinch bug and pear psylla surveys and as a post-doctoral researcher at KU, before being enlisted into the U.S. Air Force as a medical entomologist in 1942.
During his time in the army, Dr. Hardy rose to the rank of major while educating soldiers on medical entomology and parasitology. He was awarded the bronze star for his efforts in Assam and Calcutta, India and returned to the U.S. as an assistant professor at Iowa State University in 1945. In 1948, he accepted a position as assistant professor at the University of Hawaii (UH) in 1948, being promoted to professor a few years later, and serving as department chair in 1958. Dr. Hardy spent his time identifying fly species throughout the islands, which were published in the five volume set Insects of Hawaii. Dr. Hardy traveled to China, India, and the Pacific Islands, contributing to A Catalog of Oriental Diptera. He also began the Hawaiian Drosophila project in 1963, contributing a large part of research to the behavior, genetics, ecology, and systematics of the cosmopolitan genus.
After a successful career at UH, Dr. Hardy retired in 1980 and continued research in cataloging Diptera in his emeritus years. Through his contributions, he described 465 new species and 78 new genera of Tephritidae, 346 new species and subspecies of Pipunculidae, 305 new species and 3 new genera of Bibionidae, and over 800 species of the genus Drosophila from the Hawaiian Drosophila project. For his efforts, Dr. Hardy was awarded the ESA National Award for Outstanding Research in 1976, the University of Hawaii Regent’s Medal of Excellence in Research in 1981, the Hawaiian Chapter ESA Award for Lifetime Excellence in 1993, and the University of Hawaii Regent’s Medal of Distinction in 1998.

(Updated May, 2012)